Monday, May 16, 2011


Bangladesh Host Argentina?

Watching Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Carlos Tevez from the galleries of the Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) is set to become reality as the emergency executive committee of Bangladesh Football Federation yesterday officially confirmed that an Argentina-Nigeria friendly match will be held in Dhaka in September this year.

There were whispers around the sports arena for the last one-and-half months that the country's football governing body was hoping to lure Messi's Argentina to Bangladesh after it was learned that Argentina would play an exhibition match against Venezuela in Kolkata on September 2. And yesterday, the BFF officially admitted the fact following an emergency meeting.

“We are taking all necessary preparations to get Argentina to the country and our discussions have almost reached the final stage. It is likely that we will put pen to paper on Friday,” said BFF president Kazi Salahuddin after the meeting at the BFF House yesterday.

“It will not be an exhibition match, but a FIFA international friendly match between Argentina and Nigeria, so in line with FIFA regulations, I cannot disclose the amount we need to get them,” said the BFF boss.

However, it has been learnt that some Tk 30 to 35 crore will be needed to get both the teams and the payments will be cleared in three to four installments.

The match will take place on September 6 at the BNS while Argentina will arrive here on September 3, one day after playing the match in Kolkata.

Salahuddin said that he would only let the media know about the program of Argentina and Nigeria after signing the agreement with Indian agency Celebrity Group, who have previously brokered the deal to get Diego Maradona to Kolkata.

“The contract is bound by the appearance of Messi, Di Maria, Tevez and that means the first choice Argentina team,” said Salahuddin.

He also informed that Argentina would hold two practice sessions one which would be for the local journalists and ticket-holders and the other which will be a closed door practice session.

Queried about the reasons behind bringing Argentina to Bangladesh spending a lot of money, the BFF boss said, “The BFF will not put a single penny as money will come from outside and if we can make profit through it, it will be put into the development programme.”

He also pointed out two more reasons saying that the move would increase football awareness for the next generation.

“If they can see a player like Messi play in Bangladesh as well as see the standard of football, then they will think that there is future for them in football and they will take football seriously. This will also put Bangladesh on the global map and show all that we are capable of holding an international friendly match.”

Salahuddin also indicated that if they manage to hold the friendly match successfully, then he would try to hold an international friendly match each year.

SOURCE - Daily Star

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